China sets up a "ring of shame" on bad pay phones

In the eye of the cameras, the Chinese are constantly monitored. These "smart" cameras are able to recognize the face of citizens in real time as well as their identity. By 2020, their data from banks, private companies and authorities will be collected. To achieve this collection, everything is sifted: the financial situation, consumption habits, professional career and even behavior adopted on social networks.

Some actions may cause Chinese people to lose points on their social credit. Among them, criticize the government, cross when the little guy is red or buy cigarettes or beer. These activities lower the score of the Chinese but it is not without consequence !

Indeed, a bad score removes rights such as not being able to travel, start a business or even buy a home. Other activities, on the other hand, provide benefits. To raise his score, it is advisable to give blood or to flatter the Communist Party. So the higher the social credit score, the more the citizen has advantages, such as paying for half price transportation or having discounts in museums.

In fact, everything could be taken into account to judge the value of an individual. So what about "bad payers"? China is experimenting with setting up a "Special phone ring" for indebted citizens in some parts of the country. These Laolai (the name given to these indebted people) are on the government's blacklist because they have credits that they can not repay immediately. As a result, they suffer daily humiliation and restrictions.

The country has even put in place an online searchable database of all Laolai names. In Guanyun County, in the east of the country, telecommunications companies and local courts are assigning a separate ringtone to indebted residents. Its purpose: to warn people who are trying to reach them that they are about to contact a blacklisted person. A beep and a hop special ringing sounds followed by the voice message below:

The person you are calling has been blacklisted by the Guanyun County Court. Please exhort this person to fulfill his legal obligations. Court employees appreciate your support. Thank you !

Beyond Guanyun, the cities of Huangshi (Hubei Province) and Degfend (Henan Province) have taken the same steps. If registered citizens report being unable to repay their debt (s) immediately, local courts claim that these bad payers refuse to pay while they would have the means. A scenario of a true digital dictatorship truly worthy of an episode of the series Black Mirror !

Credits: France 24

Credits: France 24

Credits: France 24

Imagined by: The Chinese government

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